Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Cluelessness

Getting It Wrong At The Supreme Court

It should come as no surprise that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has only a tenuous connection to reality, though her willingness to expose it might be.

In the recent Ricci decision, the good Justice decided to read her dissent from the bench -- and in what night be read as an expression of sisterhood, made use of the word "empathy" in describing what see felt was the proper course of action.

The situation? Seems the fire department of New Haven, CT had a test for promotion; and when no African-American firefighters passed the test, instead of the city making more of an effort to attract more-qualified Black firefighters, they panicked and threw the test out. Caucasian and Hispanic firefighters sued, alleging discrimination (and note the majority opinion of the High Court was they were right). No word, I guess, from Asian or Pacific Islander firefighters.


This is the cold, dead hand of Woodrow Wilson's Democratic Party, reaching out with the soft bigotry of low expectations. telling us, "that's all they're capable of, poor creatures." Bullshit! Pure, unadulterated, triple-strength bilge and hokum! It's 2009 and just about the only groups that have to be reminded of the countervailing examples all around 'em are unregenerate racists and liberals -- but I repeat myself.

And BS again over the invidious idea that "candidates for a promotion don't need to be the best; they need simply have qualifications that are only 'necessary to successful performance of the job in question.'" So if Justice Ginsburg's house is burning down, she's okay with firefighters led by the barely adequate instead of by the best? Fine for you, Judge, but I'd rather have the starters than the benchwarmers, myself.

New Haven, the majority on the bench was right and Justice Ginsberg and her three buddies are clueless; put the test back in and if you've got some demographic goal, put your attentions to the input end of the process. There are plenty of firefighters out there with a real knack for the job and it's not linked to their complexion.

...But what still has my blood boiling is this burning desire to define tests down to achieve "balance." It shows up in public safety jobs and the military these days but public safety is the most damaged by it -- there are often different physical requirements for the boys and the girls, yet once they qualify, they do the same job. This is the worst sort of foolishness; if a fireman's got to be able to carry X weight for Y distance under Z conditions, then a firewoman had better be able to do so, too, or she's gonna have to leave someone to die that her brothers would've been able to save. Unfair? --It may have the effect of setting the bar higher for women than for men but it does not make it impossible, and it could be your loved ones or even you, left to burn by someone who only got in because the bar was lowered.

Some jobs take strength or stamina; some take great powers of concetration and fine motor control. Some -- Supreme Court Justice, perhaps? -- merely take good sitting-down muscles at both ends. And many jobs require some basic abilities that if you, personally, lack 'em, you had not ought to be doing that job. Not even if Justice Ginsburg thinks it would be "fair."

10 comments:

homebru said...

So far, I haven't heard/read of anyone who sees this as a commercial opportunity. As in (a) knock out a quick self-help "Firefighter's Exams For Dumbbells" book or (b) setup a Cram School.

Bound to be other ways to improve test scores as well.

Turk Turon said...

*snicker* Bobbi said "bullshit"!

Usually when a Supreme reads a dissent from the bench it is intended as a rebuke to the other Justices, who have to sit there and listen.

The New Haven case was a slam dunk. The test was carefully screened to be racially and culturally neutral. Everyone agreed on that going in. But after the test results were in, the City wanted to change the outcome, something they had promised they would not do if all sides agreed the test was racially neutral. Racial diversity is an important goal for a society, but it is not the only goal, nor is it first among equals.

Often, lawyers will tell you that you don't go to court to get "fairness", you go to court to get "the law". It is up to the legislature to put "fairness" into the law, if they can. It is not up to a judge to dispense "fairness". Here, Ginsburg was clearly over the line. Nice sentiment; wrong venue.

Tam said...

"*snicker* Bobbi said "bullshit"!"

I know! I was a little stunned when I read that, too. You know my roomie's really spun up about something if she uses a dirty word.

Mr. Fixit said...

I've been thinking about this very thing for a few days. Dirty words or not, I agree with you.

Mr Fixit

Crucis said...

Another fine example of liberal bigotry and racism. The spirit of Thurgood Marshall lives in Ginsburg.

Timmeehh said...

That's some good writing!

Don Gwinn said...

When "they" say this kind of thing about men, my face turns red and I can feel my blood. I don't understand why more black folks don't take more offense at such things, but maybe they've had more practice with stupid people saying stupid things about them than I have.

LabRat said...

The lower physical requirements for women in the military and in fire departments was a massive body blow to feminism, not for it, because it institutionalizes "women can't do it as well so the only way to include them is to lower the bar". YES, women have a harder time gaining upper-body strength than men. NO, training a woman to reach the same standard as a man is not just impossible, impossible! for the poor dears.

Would we have fewer women among police, firefighters, and the military? Yeah. But they'd all be women that could do the damn job and both they and everyone else would know it without having to get Ruth Bader Ginsburg to put in a kind word for them.

The race thing is even stupider, given that melanin content really has nothing whatever to do with any job I can think of other than "playing the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in a movie".

Larry said...

"Racial diversity is an important goal for a society, but it is not the only goal, nor is it first among equals."

I'm not sure that it is. Either important, or even a worthy goal at all.

Personally, I think racial diversity is an accident of history and geography. (Sure, the actions that cause it weren't accidental, but there was no intent for "diversity".)

I think racial integration and equality are far more important than racial diversity. A society consisting of one race, or one majority race is not inherently better or worse than a society with a rainbow of skin tones.

"The lower physical requirements for women in the military and in fire departments was a massive body blow to feminism, not for it, because it institutionalizes "women can't do it as well so the only way to include them is to lower the bar". YES, women have a harder time gaining upper-body strength than men. NO, training a woman to reach the same standard as a man is not just impossible, impossible! for the poor dears."

To be fair, some standards have historically been defined to exclude not on the basis of competence and ability but on arbitrary standards with poor correlation to the task. This doesn't seem to be the case here, or in most of our modern society's standards, as far as I can tell.

Secesh said...

I was a firefighter for 24 years, and this has happened more than once in my city. Tests have been thrown out and given over if the results were not what the city wanted.
People were hired who were not physically or mentally qulaified for the job.
I'm sure this has happened in many places.
It makes you hesitant to go into a burning house when your partner isn't qualified to save you.